Mesežnikov also commented The quality of democracy in Slovakia in the first quarter of 2009 was given a mark of 3.1 on a scale of 1 to 5 (1 being the highest possible mark) in the IVO Barometer results presented on April 22 by representatives of the Institute for Public Issues (IVO), a Slovak non-governmental organisation.
The results were unchanged from the previous quarter. The independence of the media was given the worst mark (3.5), followed by democratic institutions and the legal state (3.25). The field of human and minority rights was given 3 and the legislative sphere was marked at 2.75.
According to IVO president Grigorij Mesežnikov, the authors of the assessment agreed that negative trends have been prevailing in Slovakia, but in the end this didn’t bring down the marks in specific areas. “We've registered problematic events, but we think that the regression isn’t so significant for us to decrease the rating based on our methodology,” Mesežnikov told TASR. He stressed, however, that there are continuing signs of stagnation.
According to the IVO report, two crucial events influenced the dynamics of Slovakia’s internal development: the global economic crisis and the presidential elections. The crisis forced Slovak representatives to deal with its effects. Mesežnikov was especially critical about the way in which the so-called Hungarian card (by which certain politicians seek to exploit some ethnic Slovak citizens’ fears and prejudices about their ethnic-Hungarian fellow citizens) was played in the election campaign.
According to IVO, the first quarter was also characterised by political cronyism, which was most obviously seen in the case of the so-called bulletin-board tender, which involved the now-dismissed construction and regional development minister Marian Janušek. In terms of legislation, IVO criticised the governing coalition for its attempts to achieve absolute legislative dominance. It also added that the coalition made extensive use of fast-tracked legislative proceedings in Parliament, using the economic crisis as a justification. According to IVO’s report, this is irregular and curbs professional discussion.
on Prime Minister Robert Fico’s attitude to the media and voiced his concern about Fico’s growing proclivity for attacking them. “He doesn’t like the media, as they complicate his work,” he said. On the other hand, concerning the issue of foreign policy, IVO assessed the new foreign affairs minister, Miroslav Lajčák, positively, noting that the change has revived Slovak-Hungarian relations. TASR
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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